How to Write a Killer Query: The Do's and Don'ts OnDemand Webinar

How to Write a Killer Query: The Do's and Don'ts OnDemand Webinar

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  • You are an aspiring writer beginning the query process
  • You want to brush up on your querying strategy
  • You are a writer who wants more industry resources
  • You are a writer who has not been successful in querying and need some guidance
  • You are a writer looking to improve your existing queries


Writing a killer query letter requires a great hook and a clear premise. The first sentence should immediately catch the reader's attention, while the ending should leave the reader wanting more. This may sound simple, but writing strong query letters takes practice, patience, and an eye for detail. That is why we're here: to discuss what to do and not to do in order to make your query-writing endeavors as successful and straightforward as possible.

Danielle and Jaida have been in the industry for three years, delving into the New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. slush pile on a weekly basis, reading thousands of queries from writers with varying skill levels. Seeing this many queries has given them a well-rounded view of what works and what doesn't, and they're excited to share their expertise with you while you're in your pre-submission stages.


  • How to hook your reader
  • How to effectively use comparative titles
  • How long your pitch should be
  • Key information to include in (or keep out of) your pitch
  • What to say in your bio paragraph
  • Examples of strong queries
  • What to avoid saying


Jaida Temperly, of New Leaf Literary & Media, is very excited to be building her client list. Her clients include Kody Keplinger, Eric Telchin, Amber McRee Turner, and Maggie Heinze. She also represents illustrators Betsy Bauer, Genevieve Santos, and James Lipnickas.

After a brief stint in medical school at UW-Madison, Jaida moved from Wisconsin to NYC for an internship at Writer's House. After five months, Jaida joined New Leaf Literary & Media, assisting Joanna Volpe for the past three years before starting to build her own list of clients.

For Children's, MG, and YA titles, she's drawn to quirky, dark stories (The Mysterious Benedict Society, Coraline, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, I Don't Like Koala, etc.) For Adult Fiction, she loves those with strong mystery, high fantasy, or religious undertones (The Westing Game, A Discovery of Witches, and The DaVinci Code).

You can follow her on Twitter: @jltemperly.

Following her completion of the Denver Publishing Institute after graduation, Danielle Barthel began interning at Writers House. While there, she realized she wanted to put her English degree and love of the written word to work at a literary agency. She worked as a full-time assistant for three years, and continues to help keep the New Leaf offices running smoothly in her role of Coordinator of Team and Client Services.

Danielle is looking for upper MG, YA, adult, and non-fiction manuscripts. She'd love to find an amazing MG epistolary, engrossing YA realistic contemporary stories like THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE and ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, well-crafted fantasies, and retellings of all kinds. A strong romantic subplot, especially with expertly crafted tension, is never a bad thing, and she's particularly fond of historical romance (especially set in England). For non-fiction, she's open to unique and poignant lifestyle and cookbooks.

You can follow her on Twitter: @debarthel.

NOTE: Writer's Digest does not offer refunds for OnDemand Webinars. All sales are final. OnDemand Webinars do NOT include a critique.

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